The state capital of West Bengal, Kolkata—formerly known as Calcutta—is India’s third-largest metropolis and considered its intellectual and cultural capital. Ideally situated in Rajarhat in the city’s northeast sector, just one kilometre from the International Convention Centre, The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat forms part of a modern mixed-use development. We are also near Salt Lake City, Kolkata’s new commercial and IT hub.
As the former capital of British India, Kolkata has a vast array of intriguing colonial architecture. Set amid beautiful gardens and modelled on the Taj Mahal, the Victoria Memorial is a splendid white-marble museum of royal memorabilia and towering bronze statuary commemorating Queen Victoria. As one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region, the Indian Museum is a colonnaded palace filled with more than a million artifacts and relics. A cornerstone of gothic design, St. Paul’s Cathedral was the first Episcopal church in Asia and is the largest cathedral in the city today.
Meanwhile, the Asutosh Museum of Indian Art, located on the University of Calcutta campus, houses antique Indian sculpture, brass work, and Bengali terracotta displays. For a personal look at history, visit Mother Teresa’s mission at the small museum at Mother House, also the site of her tomb. Another famous resident is honoured at Tagore’s House, a 1784 mansion and museum dedicated to Rabindranath Tagore, the winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature. For some spiritual serenity, visit Kolkata’s holiest spot, Kali Temple. The second largest of its kind in the world, Birla Planetarium introduces over 600 spectators to the solar system in English, Bengali, and Hindi.
Beyond its cultural and historical riches, Kolkata is celebrated for its recreational areas. Play a round at the world’s oldest golf club outside of the British Isles, The Royal Calcutta Golf Club. The 480-acre New Town Eco Park comprises lakes, gardens, and playgrounds while the engineering marvels Vidyasagar Setu and Rabindra Setu promise breathtaking views of the Hooghly River. For a little retail therapy, head to the New Market, where local handicrafts include Bankura (clay) horses, saris from Shantiniketan, and leather goods. Finally, end an exhilarating day with limitless entertainment and nightlife options, ranging from Bengali dance, music, and theatre to exotic restaurants, bars, and discos.